Friday, 19 August 2011

A Year of Plenty, by Craig L Goodwin: a book review. Of sorts.

A hobby of mine - I guess it's a hobby, as it takes up quite a bit of my free time - is following blogs. I especially like Faith Barista and join in with her Jam With Me Thursdays when I can. I also like reading: my latest book is A Year of Plenty, by Craig L Goodwin. I was just finishing this book when this week's topic on the Faith Jam came up: Small Acts of Faith. Reading a Year of Plenty, that's exactly what I was inspired to do. Make small acts of faith. This is why...

My primary emotion when I started off reading this book was intrigue. I was curious to see how a typical suburban US family could live, for a year, only by using what was homegrown, locally produced, homemade or recycled. At first glance, it didn't seem as if it would be too challenging. There would be adjustments, of course, but I considered that most of what my family consumed would fall into one of those four categories. How wrong I was. The book is a fascinating glimpse into a year of taking an alternative approach to consumerism.

I have been a devotee of recycling for many years - not just recycling rubbish, but buying used or second-hand goods, principally through charity shops. I make my own cards for every occasion; grow whatever vegetables the rabbits, which are prolific in my garden, allow; make do, mend and repair. My husband does the same, faithfully keeping our ancient vehicles roadworthy and fixing things around the house. Our lifestyle is generally not at all profligate, save for the odd winter holiday in sunnier climes and I figured that forgoing that just once might not be too hard. So I considered trying the experiment as well.

By the end of the first chapter, I was in despair. The enormity of consumerism threatened to overcome me; the ethical and philosophical questions raised by ONLY buying what is locally produced were completely overwhelming. Having lived in Kenya for many years, I was well aware of the value to local people there when I bought Kenyan green beans or roses. Were I, and others with me, not to do that, the livelihood of many would vanish. The book was, to my surprise, raising more questions and creating more problems in my mind than answers. I persevered.

By the end of the second chapter, when I read that locally produced squash was rotting while shoppers were buying squash produced in Mexico, I was in tears. The ugly question of food waste reared its head. I knew – from a paper my daughter wrote on the subject for her degree – that tackling the problem has no simple solutions. Nor, on the face of it, do other ‘green’ issues. How could one family change ANYTHING?

By the end of the book, I felt quite optimistic. Yes, the Goodwins’ experiment meant radical changes to their lifestyle, but it did seem possible. I realised that taking a similar approach helped to increase a sense of community as purchasing became much more personal. As I read about successful vegetable growing, rearing chickens or sourcing locally milled flour, I gained a renewed appreciation for the work farmers do.

I had some issues, which I suspect others reading this book might share. While I agree that consumerism is insidious in the fabric of Western society, it is a hard habit to break. Food has to be put on the table, journeys made, birthday presents found. Searching for a locally-produced birthday present for one of the children’s class-mates required a 30 minute drive which, concerned as I am to reduce my own carbon footprint, seemed excessive. Yet are the benefits of finding a beautiful, hand-crafted object, which was much appreciated by the recipient and resulted in an increased connection with its maker – increased community, which most of us long for - deemed less important?

A Year of Plenty raises significant questions about sustainability through consumer choice, about the role and identity of the church and about the global economics of consumption. But as Craig Goodwin says, this experiment was about ‘sorting out more meaningful rhythms of consumption in the small space of our lives.’ They learned to focus intentionally on the ‘little things’, having faith that what they did mattered.

And it does. We all have lives filled with ‘little things’. How we behave with those small things demonstrates our faith. As we seek to live responsibly in our world, we affirm that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’ (Psalm 24:1) and that we are stewards of it. What we do IS important.

For more inspiration, go to the Year of Plenty blog!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Time for another book review...A Conversation with God

Ever wondered how to answer the questions friends throw at you about your faith? Questions about why you can believe in a good God when there is so much pain and suffering in the world, just for a start...
This book attempts to help us out with our questions.

Subtitled ‘If you could ask God any question, what would it be?’, the book does what it says: gives questions and corresponding answers , taken from the Bible. The ‘answers’ are contributed through the voice of over twenty different people as well as God, including Jesus, Abraham, David, James, John the Baptist... Easy to dip into, rather than necessarily read through from beginning to end, the contents are easily accessible so that they can be read in any order. 55 chapters are divided into different areas of concern: questions about the Bible, pain and suffering, heaven and hell, Christian living, the world, each topic answering several questions.

I asked for this book in the hope that it would be a ‘manual’ I could use with friends who ask me difficult questions about my faith. And yes, it does answer many of the obvious questions. However, I found myself asking more questions as I read through, realising that I needed to study in more depth in order to find answers. So that is a good thing!

I found the language slightly strange at times – everyone speaks in the first person and I found that took a little getting used to. That aside, as a starter it’s a great tool. I would lend it to a friend, which is what I had hoped for. And I’ll certainly be dipping back into it myself from time to time...maybe even today...

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Words from God today

Holley Gerth's blogpost about her new book, 'God's Heart for You: Embracing Your True Worth as a Woman', dropped into my inbox yesterday with a little challenge: to finish the sentence "In God's heart I am..."  There was a cute little movie to go with it:

It was accompanied by the incentive of a cute little reward from Blessings Unlimited to complete the challenge and then post it onto facebook.
Then Cat and Sarah came home.
This is what we did:

Then we goofed around some...

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Breakfast on Woman Alive!

Wow, had a surprise this morning. Logged on to the Woman Alive website to see my little article about our monthly breakfasts!  Woo hoo!

Saturday, 13 August 2011


Karen Ehman has written movingly about worship.  And she asks how, where, and, most importantly, WHY we worship.
I've often read and heard 'secular' love songs as being songs of love Jesus sings...great to be reminded of that.
Yes, worship. How: with all of me; where: as the Spirit moves, but also as a sacrifice of praise; why: Jesus!

Inspiration on FORGIVENESS from Martin Luther King

“First, we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. It is impossible even to begin the act of loving one’s enemies without the prior acceptance of the necessity, over and over again, of forgiving those who inflict evil and injury upon us. It is also necessary to realize that the forgiving act must always be initiated by the person who has been wronged, the victim of some great hurt, the recipient of some tortuous injustice, the absorber of some terrible act of oppression. The wrongdoer may request forgiveness. He may come to himself, and, like the prodigal son, move up some dusty road, his heart palpitating with the desire for forgiveness. But only the injured neighbor, the loving father back home, can really pour out the warm waters of forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning. It is the lifting of a burden or the canceling of a debt. The words ‘I will forgive you, but I’ll never forget what you’ve done’ never explain the real nature of forgiveness. Certainly one can never forget, if that means erasing it totally from his mind. But when we forgive, we forget in the sense that the evil deed is no longer a mental block impeding a new relationship. Likewise, we can never say, ‘I will forgive you, but I won’t have anything further to do with you.’ Forgiveness means reconciliation, a coming together again. Without this, no man can love his enemies
“The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies.
“Second, we must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy-neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us has something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all of our lives. Something within us causes us to lament with Ovid, the Latin poet, ‘I see and approve the better things, but follow worse,’ or to agree with Plato that human personality is like a charioteer having two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in a different direction, or to repeat with the Apostle Paul, ‘The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.’
“This simply means that there is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. When we look beneath the surface, beneath. the impulsive evil deed, we see within our enemy-neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God’s image is ineffably etched in being. Then we love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally bad and that they are not beyond the reach of God’s redemptive love.
“Third, we must not seek to defeat or humiliate the enemy but to win his friendship and understanding. At times we are able to humiliate our worst enemy. Inevitably, his weak moments come and we are able to thrust in his side the spear of defeat. But this we must not do. Every word and deed must contribute to an understanding with the enemy and release those vast reservoirs of goodwill which have been blocked by impenetrable walls of hate.
“Let us move now from the practical how to the theoretical why: Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.
“So when Jesus says ‘Love your enemies,’ he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies-or else? The chain reaction of evil-hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars-must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
“Another reason why we must love our enemies is that hate scars the soul and distorts the personality. Mindful that hate is an evil and dangerous force, we too often think of what it does to the person hated. This is understandable, for hate brings irreparable damage to its victims. We have seen its ugly consequences in the ignominious deaths brought to six million Jews by hate-obsessed madman named Hitler, in the unspeakable violence inflicted upon Negroes by bloodthirsty mobs, in the dark horrors of war, and in the terrible indignities and injustices perpetrated against millions of God’s children by unconscionable oppressors.
“But there is another side which we must never overlook. Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.
“A third reason why we should love our enemies is that love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.
“The relevance of what I have said to the crisis in race relations should be readily apparent. There will be no permanent solution to the, race problem until oppressed men develop the capacity to love their enemies. The darkness of racial injustice will be dispelled only by the light of forgiving love. For more than three centuries American Negroes have been battered by the iron rod of oppression, frustrated by day and bewildered by night by unbearable injustice and burdened with the ugly weight of discrimination. Forced to live with these shameful conditions, we are tempted to become bitter and to retaliate with a corresponding hate. But if this happens, the new order we seek will be little more than a duplicate of the old order. We must in strength and humility meet hate with love.
“My friends, we have followed the so-called practical way for too long a time now, and it has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities which surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation and the salvation of mankind, we must follow another way.
“While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community.
“To our most bitter opponents we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.’”


A doctor-friend wrote:
A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio...and I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned.....but I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.
He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God He spoke the universe into He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire...etc. Etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) ....and I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking....'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???'
Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling our loving Creator is also our sustainer.
And then I lost my breath.
And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!!
It was because he started talking about laminin.
I knew about laminin.. Here is how wikipedia describes them :'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue.' You see....laminins are what hold us together....LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell.. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn't know is what laminin LOOKED LIKE.
But now I do.
And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)......
Here is what the structure of laminin looks like....AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it....if you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see....
Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!!
The glue that holds us together...ALL of in the shape of the cross.
Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.
'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth , visible and invisible,
Whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
All things were created by him and for him.
He is before all things,
And in him all things HOLD TOGETHER. '
Colossians 1:15-17.
Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool.
Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held cell to the cross..

You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like long before Adam even breathed his first breath!!
" Faith is not knowing what the future holds,
but knowing who holds the future."
I wanted you to know and to understand that YOU are being held together by the cross of Jesus Christ! His love! His forgiveness and His marvelous power!

Moving house

We had a moving home notification in the post yesterday. Richard’s uncle, aged 87, has changed his address from Earth to Heaven.

His wish was that there would be NO tears, NO black, because JESUS LIVES, JIM LIVES ALSO.

There would be no funeral. Instead, a private cremation followed by a service to remember his life.

Job 19:25 – 27 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, I myself will see him with my own eyes – I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Sharing a moment...


Something happened recently which I recorded in my journal but didn't think I'd blog about. But Connie over at
Faith Barista asked us to share a thought arising from our 'whitespace' (times alone with God). It's quite a long story, but worth recording.
Firstly, my 'whitespace' is often in a church service. I attend a traditional Anglican church: this was God's choice, not my natural comfort zone! My husband and I left our lively evangelical church to help support the vicar with a tiny, elderly congregation, finding it quite challenging. Happiest in a non-denominational, charismatic service, I often find the formal Anglican liturgy...well, less than inspiring. Yet it is often at these 'drier' moments that I have 'God thoughts' which I jot down in a tiny journal I carry with me.  Occasionally, I attend services and events at another church and my 'whitespace' moments may happen in the middle of a lively worship session. They also happen in quieter prayer moments or when I am listening to the Bible reading. They happen most often in church though during a sermon or talk, when God 'speaks' to me quite directly through the words spoken.
That happened to me a week or two ago.
A visiting pastor, who I know slightly, related a story where he had been greatly encouraged. Jon had been adopted as a baby by older parents and was very much loved. His mother died a few years ago and then his father more recently. He talked about how lonely and abandoned he had been feeling since his fathers' death a few months' previously - despite having a loving wife and three beautiful daughters!
One day, Jon had to go home at lunchtime to meet some workmen. Instead of driving home directly, he found himself travelling by a roundabout route and, in the process, came across a visitor struggling with the map. The man was thin, quite bedraggled, almost scruffily dressed, and Portuguese: he spoke almost no English at all. However, he spoke a little French, which Jon is fluent in and so Jon was able to understand where the man wanted to go: to a hotel very near Jon's house. So he offered him a lift.
As soon as they started driving off in Jon's open-top car, the man - 'Pedro' - started pulling all kinds of papers out of a bag he was carrying, which almost started flying away. As Jon negotiated the narrow, winding lanes of our little island of Guernsey, he tried to encourage the man to put them away and managed to arrive at the hotel without losing anything. Arriving, the man motioned for Jon to drive round the back of the hotel into the car park, which made Jon think that perhaps the man had been there before and was maybe returning for a job interview, as our island has quite a few Portuguese people working in the hotel industry.  The man got out, thanking Jon for the lift and had begun to walk off when Jon noticed a crumpled Guernsey £1 note lying on the passenger seat. He picked it up and called to 'Pedro' that he had forgotten it, whereupon Pedro motioned for Jon to keep it, shouting "Pour l'essence!" ('For the fuel'), so Jon put it in his pocket, thanked him and drove off.
Some time later, as Jon was leaving his house, he remembered the note and pulled it out. Inside, folded up into a small rectangle of a few square centimeters, was a piece of paper. On it was written, in French, words to the effect that 'you are my adopted son, you are not alone, I am with you...'
As Jon said this, he looked over at me while he read the words on the paper and I felt tears. I knew God was speaking to me.
Now, I am not adopted but I have been feeling quite alone and burdened in my church situation. I just knew this was a word from God for me, that I did not need to feel alone or discouraged. I thought there might be added confirmation during a prayer time at the end but, as the story had taken a long time to tell, there was just a brief prayer and a closing song.
It didn't matter. I knew God had spoken to me through Jon.
Yet, a few minutes after the end, Jon came over.
"I have a word for you," he said.
"I know!" was my reply. "I saw you look over at me while you were speaking."
He looked a little puzzled, but continued, "I don't know if this makes any sense, but I felt God say this to you: 'Angie —don't fear I am with you. You are not alone. I will not leave you. God hears your cry - his strength is made perfect in weakness. You are supporting someone, which is draining you, but you will not run dry. He will supply a supporting friend - so you can be supported and continue to support too.'
I couldn't stop smiling. God had spoken to me in my 'whitespace' and confirmed it through Jon. I knew I was not alone.
PS the end of Jon's story was that he then rushed back to the hotel, to find no trace of 'Pedro'. He asked us: "Do you think 'Pedro' might possibly have been an angel?"

Straightening wires

Reading Max Lucado's wonderful little book 'Travelling Light for Mothers', based on Psalm 23, I read about 'wants'. Max reminds us that many of our 'wants' - a better job, a new house, a slimmer figure, perhaps children - or more children - are just that: wants. And he tells the story of a man who had 'lost everything' - yet he had not lost his faith, his character nor his salvation. 
I confess to having felt somewhat smug when I have read this list, or other similar lists in the past. I have no problem recognising material 'wants'. Yes, sometimes I battle with desiring more financial security, for myself or my children. Yes, I often battle with desiring a slimmer figure or more elegant furnishings. But I do recognise that they are just material 'wants' and pale into insigificance in the light of eternal things. I nod enthusiastically when I read what Jesus said: "Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot." or hear Paul's declaration that 'godliness with contentment is great gain', as he warns about becoming obsessed with money.
Yet, I am greedy. Not particularly for financial or material things - that's mainly an ongoing battle which results from being 'in the world, but not of it'. But I am greedy for emotional 'things'.
I hanker after happiness
I crave approval..
I long for praise.

I desire peaceful relationships
I yearn for harmony

I want restored relationships
I want

Now, is this really necessary?  Must I have relationships that work, that are comfortable, in which there is very little or no conflict? 
The answer, in some ways, is no. I can survive if not all relationships are good and 'perfect'. I will still be able to eat, drink, sleep, work, pray...hmmm, pray...

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Bent wires

The summer break has afforded me all kinds of opportunities to catch up. Some pleasurable - coffee with friends, lunches with friends, evenings with friends...Some appointments, hair appointments, tidying appointments, sorting and throwing away appointments...And some - well, some that are both pleasurable and necessary in varying proportions.  Such as tiny mending chores, or restringing beads. Tightly wrapped bundles of frustration and satisfaction intertwined.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Is it REALLY necessary to mend the tiny holes in a pair of old gloves, when I could throw them away and buy another pair?  I find myself listing reason after reason:
1. Waste not, want not. Why spend money when, with a few stitches, they will last a little time longer as a 'spare pair' for when I have lost the others.
2. Growing up as a 'post-war-just-out-of-rationing-baby' has seeped frugality into my soul. I have to be frugal: it's my nature.
3. Decades of my life in Africa taught me not to throw away: the shame of consigning something perfectly serviceable to the garbage when it would be rescued, redeemed and recycled - many years before that became acceptable, let alone fashionable as it is now...
4. The mantra 'Reduce, reuse, repair and recycle'  is an inherent part of how I live...most stuff doesn't even make it as far as recycle. Just gets reused many times over in different forms before it is allowed to leave my ownership..
5. It's satisfying. It pleases me. In its own small way, mending and repairing things makes me happy. I'm in the business of redemption and restoration. Finishing a mending project puts a smile on my face.
So I mended gloves; repaired a string hammock (great for our camping trip later this month); kept a useful zip-up jacket in circulation with a few stitches to secure the zip; and customized a beloved cardigan into a little shrug. It had belonged to my grandmother, worn by me until my daughter pounced on it, loving it until the elbows wore through...some ribbon, a new hem, careful stitching... it's now hiding in her cupboard, waiting for her to come tomorrow.
Then I turned to different work with needle and thread. Favourite necklaces begged to be restrung, but it was the bracelet making that fascinated me. A scattered collection of colourful beads pleaded to be brought back to usefulness. Too few for necklaces, they gathered together in wrist-sized groups. A little stretchy elastic later, and I found myself with more beaded jewellery than a Rendille wife...It was fun.

But I put off the necklace repairs. Previously, I have struggled with a needle, the eye of which is so small as to be invisible if viewed in a poor light. (Or with middle-aged eyes, which is what mine reluctantly are.) But this time, I discovered a bead threader. A nifty little gadget, its design is so simple I'm amazed I haven't come across it before now. It has been my saviour in the process of necklace re-stringing. It is an ultra-thin piece of wire, doubled up on itself, and then twisted into a 'rope' with an eyelet on one end. Tease a piece of thread through the hole, then push the threader, cut ends first, through a bead and the thread follows. I repaired my necklaces in a matter of minutes.

That bead threader released me from the intense concentration needed to thread - and keep threaded - a needle. I had time to think. And so it was that while I was carefully threading nylon through tiny holes I started thinking about more important things than jewellery.
Because mending something physical is so much easier than attempting to mend a broken relationship. Even just thinking about it brings on a frown...
It was the bead threader's fault in more ways than one. Not only did it give me time to think, it showed me how relationships can go wonky at times. Because as I used that brilliant little piece of wire, I found that, like a relationship, I had to keep on working with it.  That wire was so thin and flexible that when I pushed it through a narrow bead it started to bend. I had to stop and straighten out the kinks before I could carry on using it.

Like a relationship, really. 

I noticed several things.  
I noticed that, when the bead hole was large, the bead threader had no issues with it. There was plenty of space for it to pass through, and so I didn't have to do anything except, occasionally, pat it and smooth it down.  The distance between the bead threader and the bead hole was so large that much could be forgiven. The sides of the hole and the threader barely touched.
Relationships don't usually go awry when I am not close to someone.

I noticed that, when the hole was narrow, the ends of the bead threader caught. I had to pull the threader out, straighten it firmly between fingers and thumb, and then try again. Sometimes I had to try a couple of times before I could thread the bead.
Relationships, when close, can cause difficulty.

I noticed that, just like the bead threader, relationships can become twisted and bent. They need a lot of work to straighten them out. It takes time and effort. Maybe a chat over coffee doesn't resolve an issue straight away. Maybe a lunch is needed, too. 

I noticed that sometimes that bead threader just didn't work. It wouldn't do what it was supposed to.
Relationships,like the bead threader, are sometimes not 'fit for purpose'.
So, I wondered, what is the 'purpose' of my relationships? And what does God want to do in and through those relationships - particularly when they are difficult?

To be continued